OXNARD, Calif. -- The Dallas Cowboys have a reputation as a franchise that's friendly to undrafted free agents.
Just look at franchise quarterback Tony Romo as one of the ultimate examples of an undrafted player made good. Starting safety Barry Church, slot receiver Cole Beasley and change-of-pace back Lance Dunbar are some of the Cowboys' other significant undrafted success stories.
Here's a look at a couple of undrafted rookies who have caught the coaches' eyes during the first two weeks of practice, which makes them worth watching in Thursday's preseason opener:
WR Chris Boyd: The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Boyd probably would have been drafted if not for his involvement in a rape case last summer. He was accused of helping Vanderbilt teammates cover up the crime, which resulted in the receiver entering a conditional guilty plea to a misdemeanor accessory charge and his dismissal from the football program. He's performed well enough in camp to potentially make the Cowboys seriously consider keeping six receivers. Boyd was one of the stars of Sunday's scrimmage, when his highlights included a leaping, contested catch on a deep ball and a long run after catching a quick out. His name was the first mentioned by head coach Jason Garrett when discussing players who stood out that afternoon. "Boyd seems to make plays when you give him an opportunity down the field," Garrett said.
DT Davon Coleman: The Arizona State product, who is listed at 6-2, 300 pounds but looks more squat, has surprising explosiveness given his frame. He's been impressive enough against backup offensive linemen to earn some reps with the starters in the scrimmage. “Every day he comes out and does something that flashes at you,” Garrett said. “He has to get better technically, he has to be more consistent, but you see some flash. You see some get-off. You see some ability to get away from a blocker as a pass-rusher and ultimately that's the trait that separates guys.”